I recently read a book about a married single mom. It’s sort of a journal type book. Unfortunately it’s self-published and full of typos, wrong words, missing words, and poor formatting in general. I won’t name the book here because I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.
The book really focused on one week in this woman’s life. Her husband was across the ocean in Europe while she stayed home with the kids. Granted… she had a rough week. But I couldn’t help but think… this is one week. He may take one or two weeks a year away on business trips, but it’s only a week. As hard as those weeks may be, they seem to hardly count when her husband is gone about as much as many men are home.
Part of the struggle of the married single mom is the never-ending-ness. I know that’s not a word – but it clearly conveys the feeling.
When husbands are disengaged for noble or ignoble reasons, it doesn’t matter, there tends to be a rush of support that we extend to them right at the beginning. We so desperately want to support them and to love them with our actions so they’ll want to come home again. We sacrifice our feelings, needs and wants temporarily to make things work.
Then temporary turns into constant. Just a few business trips a year turns into a few a month. Just a few pick-up shifts here and there turns into a full-fledged second job. Part of the weekend once in a while grows to most of the weekend every weekend. An evening here and there starts to look like every night.
A married single mom in this situation struggles to see change in the distant future. She sees more of the same. More lonely nights. More parenting alone. More angry kids missing dad. More questions from friends and family.
For her to ask him to leave his job seems tantamount to the unpardonable sin! Surely no woman has the right to ask her husband to take a more family friendly job, does she? Let’s say she does. Let’s say he leaves his job at her request. Let’s say he never again finds that perfect, satisfying position. Or is never again as successful in his career as he was. Friends and family are not kind to such a woman. And they are not kind to her husband either!
Or perhaps it’s an addiction or hobby that pulls his attention away from her and the kids. On one hand she knows she’ll have everyone’s support in making sure he’s financially supporting the family. But what if he’s supporting the finances but not the family? She has likely already asked him numerous times to choose her over his escape, and yet he persists. When she looks down the road five, ten or twenty years she doesn’t see herself holding wrinkled hands with her best friend, as they lean on each other, slowly making their way through church. Trust me. She doesn’t.
Unlike the author of the poorly written book I told you about above, most married single moms can’t look forward to the weekend. There is no break on the horizon. The feeling of never-ending-ness weighs heavily.
Married single moms need hope. We don’t need a play by play. We don’t need people who look down on us or pity us. We need hope.
One thing that brings me great hope is something I learned many years ago. It’s a truth that many of us ignore, but is in fact the key to living this life well.
This is the truth: There are two worlds we live in simultaneously. They are not parallel universes, or strange twists of time. They are two entirely separate worlds that are intimately tied to and impacted by each other, but are not at all the same.
The world you are the most familiar with is the tangible world. It’s the world we see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and engage in on a daily basis. Everybody does. It includes your relationships, your career, your family, your home. You know this world so I don’t need to explain further.
The second world is, in fact, more real than the first, although because it is intangible it is largely ignored. It’s the spiritual world. In particular, the heavenly realm.
This spiritual world I talk about is the place we can go as married single moms. It’s a real place. A real world. With a real King. This world is full of joy, and hope, and peace and wisdom because God lives there.
And the heavenly world will last forever. It doesn’t matter what happens this weekend or next year or fifty years down the road. That heavenly world will never change! I can access that amazing place of hope whenever I want to.
When we make a point to build our homes in heaven’s kingdom through prayer, Bible reading, soaking in the Word, fasting, obeying God, and escaping to the arms of our Lord we will not be discouraged or overwhelmed. We will have HIS power and HIS joy running through our veins. Entering the courts of heaven in prayer and in praise are the best ways to face the never-ending-ness we feel as married single moms.
We can choose to keep looking down that long road of never-ending-ness if we want. We can continue to carry that burden alone. But why do that when there is another, better option?
I’ll be honest here. So often I trade a few loads of laundry, or another list of chores for time in that heavenly realm. We can get so blinded by the burdens of every day that the idea of peeking into the heavenly realm, hoping for a smile from the King, waiting to hear His voice seems like a lot of work.
But don’t believe it!! Go! Spend time in His word. Spend time in Prayer. Spend time waiting on the Lord for those things he promised us… joy, peace that passes all understanding, and hope. Hope.
What about you?
- Have you ever felt never-ending-ness in any aspect of your life?
- What’s your default go-to escape when the never-ending-ness starts falling on you?